A man has sued the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, popularly known as the Ridge Hospital, for negligence that led to the death of his wife after a Caesarean section at the facility.
The man, Mohammed Mustapha, is seeking GH¢5 million in compensation for the death of the wife, Akua Nyarko Osei-Bonsu, 31, in December last year and the associated trauma that he endured.
Joined in the suit as defendants are the Attorney General, the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
In his statement of claim, the plaintiff said his wife started her antenatal care at the hospital in July 2019 at about 12 weeks into the pregnancy and was seen routinely until November 20, 2019, when she was asked to bring a scan on a complaint she made.
After submitting the scan, the hospital requested for a doppler scan to also be conducted and submitted on a later date.
The Doppler scan was delivered on December 13, 2019, as requested.
Plaintiff said on the same day his wife was diagnosed with severe Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR), with an Abnormal Umbilical Artery Doppler, a condition which pointed to placental insufficiency.
Based on the diagnosis, his wife was scheduled for an emergency Caesarean section which was conducted on December 16, 2019.
According to the plaintiff, notwithstanding the Caesarean section, the baby did not survive and within or about 24 hours after the Caesarean section was done, the woman developed a condition called thromboembolism which led to her death.
“The development of thromboembolism was as a result of the negligence of the hospital from the breach of the duty of care owed to the deceased by the hospital and its agents/staff,” plaintiff submitted.
Particulars of negligence
Plaintiff said as part of the hospital’s standard protocols prior to the conduct of operation of such nature, the hospital was to develop a pre-operation and post-operation management plan which contained every step or activity and medication that must be administered to the patient before and after the operation was conducted.
He said although he (plaintiff) was compelled to procure an anticoagulant before the surgery, the hospital failed to apply the same to his wife, thereby breaching the hospital’s own protocols.
“The fourth defendant (the Greater Accra Regional Hospital) is, by its own protocols or standard practice, expected or required to administer to every patient who undergoes Caesarean section prophylactic anticoagulant therapy after 12 hours of the Caesarean section.
“That although the fourth defendant’s own protocols or standard practice demands that every patient who undergoes Caesarean section is given a prophylactic anticoagulant therapy 12 hours after the surgery, the fourth defendant did not even include this therapy in the management plan of the patient. That the failure of duty on the part of the fourth defendant invariably led to the death of the patient,” plaintiff stated.
Last week, a lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Languages, Dr Emmanuel Kuto, also told the Daily Graphic that his wife died at the hospital last month and he suspected that it resulted from the negligence of a doctor who attended to her.
Responding to allegations of negligence, the Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Emmanuel K Srofenyoh, told the Daily Graphic in an interview last Friday, July 3, 2020 that staff of the hospital were committed professionals who conducted their work according to the ethics of the medical profession and could, therefore, not admit to the accusation of medical negligence levelled against any of them.
He noted, however, that the hospital was “an advanced hospital” which was a last resort for some patients with very complicated cases, as a result of which they may record some deaths.
“Cases from other hospitals which are in very bad situations are sometimes referred to Ridge Hospital so it is true that sometimes at the emergency department or the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where patients are on ventilators, definitely when you have that kind of cases there will be deaths, but the death rate from those critically ill patients is different from a normal case,” he said.
The medical director also explained that it was only a court of law that could conclude that a medical practitioner had acted with negligence, hence the need for people to use the right forum to seek redress.
Dr Srofenyoh said the hospital had in place an elaborate system to investigate and deal with complaints from clients.